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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Kingsville’s heritage committee learns about local architectural evolution

- researcher creates resource binder with info on 319 homes -

Researcher Veronica Brown shared the architectural history of Kingsville with members of the Kingsville Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee on Monday evening. She also presented a resource binder she created that identifies 319 homes she has had the opportunity to research.

by Sylene Argent

Members of the Kingsville Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee opened up the August meeting to the public on Monday evening to give area residents an opportunity to listen to researcher Veronica Brown, who spoke about local evolution and history of architectural styles.

  During the meeting, Brown used a slideshow to take those in attendance on a pictorial journey to highlight architectural changes between 1850 and 1920. Several of the homes she highlighted in her presentation are still standing today.

  The presentation, entitled “Kingsville Architecture-from Log Houses to Bungalows” was a culmination of around 10-years worth of research.

  Log houses, she said, were popular in the 1820s and 1830s. Farmers spent a lot of time clearing land. They would then build a log house in which they could live. Eventually, a frame house, in many instances, would be added onto the log cabin, which would then be converted into a kitchen area or outhouse, Brown said.

  When conducting research for the project, Brown noted not a lot of information is available predating 1850. That was when a census was conducted and more information was collected from landowners. Prior to that, land deeds primarily focused on detailing the property.

  According to her research, in 1861, Gosfield (which Kingsville was formerly known as) had 386 houses, of which 24 were brick, nine were stone, 148 were log, and 205 were frame houses.

  Fast forward thirty years, Kingsville had then become a village, with Gosfield North and South separated. In this combined area, housing grew to 1083 buildings, of which 163 were brick, 23 were stone, 20 were log, and 877 were frame, she said.

  Brown then showcased the many styles of homes build through various eras in Kingsville, some of which still stand today, including Regency (1810-1840), Victorian era homes to Craftsman/Bungalows, which were popular in the 1900-1939 era. Because Kingsville was a small town, what was popular in larger cities took some time to catch on locally. Around the time of the Queen Anne era housing style, Kingsville had pretty much caught up with building home styles that were popular at that time.

  During her presentation, Brown also spoke of Vernacular homes, which had no overwhelming architectural style. They were built by local craftsman with local materials in a utilitarian style.

  “They were built to serve a purpose, she said.

  Many of the homes she highlighted in her presentation were either designated, or in the process of becoming designated, through the Ontario Heritage Act Registrar.

  In addition to the slideshow, Brown also presented a large resource binder to the Kingsville Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee. Copies of this binder will also be placed in the Kingsville Archive and at the Kingsville Historical Park Museum so that the information can be available to the public.

  The resource binder includes pictures and information on 319 homes, some of which still exist. She noted that when a home is demolished, it no longer stays in Kingsville’s inventory and she wanted a way to preserve that information. 

The first owners of homes listed in the resource binder are identified, in addition to the date of construction. The homes featured in the resource binder were built between the 1850s and 1920s. It also includes indexes where the properties can be found by searching for the owner or the original address.     

  Brown said she will update the resource binder every year with new homes she has been able to research.

  Members of the Kingsville Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee received the presentation. The group’s next meeting will be held at the Kingsville Municipal Building on September 4 at 6:30 p.m.   

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